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Help Molly with her homebuilding survey


Customer Expectations of the Residential Homebuilder
A University Research Project by Molly I. Donaldson

( This survey has been completed and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate. Here are the results, which can be viewed in PDF format using the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader plug-in )

Several friends of mine have recently built new homes. Their experiences with their builders were not always pleasant. Some people I know were so frustrated that they have sworn never to build a house again.

Most of the problems described to me were not related to the actual home, but rather in the area of the relationship between the owner and the builder. Because quality of service may be the last differentiator among a group of home builders that are equivalent in quality of product and cost, I am very interested in knowing what the clients' expectations are of the relationship between them and the builder.

As part of my graduate coursework for a master's degree in Construction Science and Management, I am required to do a research project on an area of interest to me. As a result, I have designed this survey to explore the importance of various aspects of the customer service relationship between the builder and the homeowner from the owner's point of view. The objectives are to determine if the anecdotal evidence is supported by the data received, to quantify the importance of various aspects of the relationship, and to determine if excellence in customer service would be a differentiator among builders.


I. Perceptions and Expectations of Home Builder

Based on your recent experience building your home, please check the box below that most closely indicates how important each of the noted items were to you.

1. Being provided a handbook or guide describing the building process.
Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

2. Prompt return of my phone calls by builder.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

3. Knowing what to expect throughout the homebuilding process.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

4. Being able to reach a "real person" at the builder's office within normal business hours.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

5. Being notified if workers will not be at the homesite on a given day.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

6. Being asked to participate in regular progress inspections of the home while it is being constructed.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

7. Having the builder communicate with me at least once a week.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

8. Having the selection process for options well organized.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

9. Being provided an invoice that contains enough detail to understand all of the charges.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

10. Having options explained to me in a way that I understand.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

11. Friendly builder's employees.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

12. Being welcome to drop in on the site unannounced.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

13. Being notified of delays or changes to overall schedule.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

14. Having trust in builder.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

15. Receiving a consistent level of service throughout the building process.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

16. Having a single point of contact, such as a project manager or account manager for the entire building process.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

17. Builder keeps appointments.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

18. Builder follows through on promises.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

19. Builder corrects minor problems as soon as they are identified.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

20. Being kept well-informed about the decisions that need to be made.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

21. Builder is responsive to change requests.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

22. Builder provides assistance understanding the operation of my home.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

23. Builder has an effective process for handling service requests.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

24. Being treated by builder in a courteous and respectful manner.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

25. Minimal surprises in construction process.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

26. The builder's employees treat my home as well as if it were their own.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

27. The builder has a good relationship with trade and specialty contractors.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

28. Being provided an owner's manual for the home.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant

29. Builder performed needs analysis.

Very Important
Somewhat Important
Neither Important nor Unimportant
Somewhat Unimportant
Very Unimportant


II. Your Experience

Thinking specifically of your experience with your home builder or contractor, please answer the following questions by checking the appropriate box:

E1. How would you rate your overall homebuilding experience?
Very Positive
Somewhat Positive
Neither Positive nor Negative
Somewhat Negative
Very Negative

E2. How would you rate your satisfaction with the appearance of your finished home?

Very Satisfied
Somewhat Satisfied
Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
Somewhat Dissatisfied
Very Dissatisfied

E3. How would you rate your satisfaction with the functionality of your finished home?

Very Satisfied
Somewhat Satisfied
Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
Somewhat Dissatisfied
Very Dissatisfied

E4. How would you rate your satisfaction with the service provided by your builder?

Very Satisfied
Somewhat Satisfied
Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied
Somewhat Dissatisfied
Very Dissatisfied

E5. How likely would you be to use this builder again?

Very Likely
Somewhat Likely
Neither Likely nor Unlikely
Somewhat Unlikely
Very Unlikely

E6. How likely would you be to recommend this builder to a friend?

Very Likely
Somewhat Likely
Neither Likely nor Unlikely
Somewhat Unlikely
Very Unlikely


III. Future Plans

F1. If you were to build another home, how important would each of the following factors would be to you. Rank them from 1-5 in order of importance. With 1 being the most important and 5 being the least important.
Please use each number only once.
   Appearance of Home
   Cost of Home
   Functionality of Home
   Length of Time to Build Home
   Service Provided by Builder
F2. If all other factors were equal between two builders, including cost, appearance, and functionality of home, how likely would you be to select the builder that had a reputation for excellence in customer service?
Very Likely
Somewhat Likely
Neither Likely nor Unlikely
Somewhat Unlikely
Very Unlikely
F3. If you had the choice between two builders that build homes of exactly the same appearance and functionality, how much more would you pay to use the builder that had a reputation for excellence in customer service? Costs are expressed as a percent of purchase price, for example 1% = $1,000 additional on the price of a $100,000 home.
0% More
1% More
2% More
3% More
4% More
5% More
6% More
7% More
8% More
9% More
More than 9%
F4. How soon would you build another home?
0 - 2 years from now
3-5 years from now
5-7 years from now
More than 8 years from now
Would never build again

IV. Comments

Please use the space below to provide any comments, positive or negative, about your homebuilding experience.
V. Demographics
In addition, please answer a few demographic questions. The answers to these questions will enable grouping of responses from similar respondents. Again, individual responses to this survey will be held in the strictest confidence, and will only be reported in summary form.
D1. Size of your Home (in square feet)
Less than 1,000 SF
1,000 to 1,500 SF
1,500 to 2,000 SF
2,000 to 2,500 SF
2,500 to 3,000 SF
3,000 to 3,500 SF
3,500 to 4,000 SF
More than 4,000 SF
D2. Cost of your Home (in thousands of dollars)
Less than 50K
50-100K
100-150K
150-200K
200-250K
250-300K
300-350K
350-400K
More than 400K
D3. Location of your Home
Single-builder subdivision
Suburban Lot (not in a subdivision)
Multiple-builder subdivision
Rural Lot
City Lot
Other
D4. Please indicate your state and Zip code
  State
  Zip Code


Thank you for participating in this survey!

     

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Copyright © 1998 by Molly I. Donaldson and B4UBUILD.COM
Produced by GS Design, Inc. May 23, 1998